tv CNN Newsroom CNN February 6, 2010 4:00pm-5:00pm EST
the snow is expected to continue through the afternoon, into the evening and possibly into the late night around 10:00 is when the blizzard warning is set to expire. we're talking about snowfall that brought the city to a standstill. we have traffic on the roadways, but it's slow going. interstates impassable for the most part. when it comes to airports, obviously no flights are taking off at this time. they're basically doing very little services to speak of, understandably with the weather and we can see the backlog of people trying to take off and leave tomorrow with the flight cancellations that took place today affecting many other airports around the country. in terms of travel in d.c., bus travel is gone. we have seen taxis here and there, but minimal. metro, all service above ground is shut down, burndground service is still happening for the time being. again, we expect the snow to fizzle out overnight and then tomorrow some of the cleanup gets under way.
that's the story from the nation's capital. back to you in the studio. >> thanks, reynolds. more on the eastern snowstorm in a moment. first, a quick look at other headlines today. president barack obama gave the democratic national committee a pep talk today at the winter meeting saying he hasn't given up on health care reform. he urged democrats to stay focused on their goals. out west, mud slides hit southern california damaging cars and homes and closing roads. the fire department said at least 41 homes were damaged and 500 people have been evacuated. the american missionaries who tried to take allegedly 33 children out of haiti will remain in jail as they await trial on kidnapping charges. the judge turned down a motion to free them while the case is being decided. so this is what it looks like across a large part of the east right now. take a look. nearly two feet of snow covers the nation's capital. and washington isn't alone.
the storm area stretches from virginia to pennsylvania and new jersey, from indiana all the way to the eastern seaboard. almost half our country. philadelphia woke up to nearly 18 inches of accumulation. with the snow still falling, road crews are having trouble keeping up with it all. airports have been closed and trains have been cancelled. new jersey governor chri chris christie is urging people to stay inside. that's what we are hearing from a lot of government leaders in the mid-atlantic states. stay inside. it's too difficult to get around. bonnie schneider in the severe weather center. this is a huge snowstorm -- again! >> it's interesting for new jersey. half the state in a terrible snowstorm. the other half, what do you mean? it's not bad. the south is where the heavy snow has accumulated. one city that's been hit hard and will likely officially confirm that a record has been broken is baltimore. we have over 26 inches of snow on the ground. we have a live picture to show
you of baltimore at this hour. yes, it is snowy, but i have to say we looked at the same picture earlier on. it looked a lot worse. we did have the blowing snow across the region and that made for tough travel conditions. we definitely saw a whiteout situation. we have the blizzard warning going into effect until 10:00 p.m. tonight. so keep that in mind. the latest picture now shows the heaviest snow still over the washington, d.c. area until you just can't catch a break. when we look at the d.c. area -- i want to zoom in so you can see the heavy bands of snow. see the brighter white? each individual band comes through and you have strong wind gusts. snowfall rates could be up to two inches an hour. it's not shutting off yet. the snowstorm is perpetuating itself for quite some time. we're also getting some improvements into the philadelphia area. some of the snow in this region is starting to shut down a bit from north to south. we can still see in glassburn,
new jersey, just on the boarder of pennsylvania/new jersey we're getting more snow. to the north it's better than it is to the south. how about the winds? the winds are intense. in atlantic city winds are sustained at 35 miles per hour. even stronger at times and in virginia beach as well, very strong winds but we are looking at lighter winds the further westward you go. this has been an incredible storm. the low offshore manages to keep the snow almost at a complete who horizontal line here. but then driving conditions through new england -- the low is pulling down drier air acting as a blocking mechanism which shuts off half the state of new jersey. that's it. no more snow. it's fascinating. >> very severe like that. >> but it's not over yet. we have a blizzard warning until 10:00 tonight. tomorrow we'll wake up and shovel out. >> that's the real hard work, especially when it hardens and it's heavier than it is now.
>> it will be cold, too. >> thank you so much. you said a record in baltimore? >> close to it. i'm anticipating that. >> let's see if d.c. is soon to follow. sarah lee is there. kind of a rare sight to see the snow plows. >> reporter: it is. we're at the point where we are not measuring the snow in nnincs but in feet. take a look as i walk through. this is the east wing of the national gallery. now full disclosure i'm only 5'2", but this is an impressive snowfall. it's closed all the museums here at the smithsonian which are usually free to the public and open. so people are out and about. probably the best way to get around is by foot. we see ski tracks here from cross-country skiers that came through because the roads --
they are doing the best they can to keep up, but as you can see behind me, you're not seeing black pavement because frankly locally the jurisdictions here are just running out of money. here's what we heard earlier from the district department of transportation. >> we're not cutting back on services. you know, we are the nation's capital. we have to get people in here. we have a lot of of people who have to come down here. the federal government, the d.c. government and lots of retail and restaurant people who rely on us to be open. we have to get ourselves back open again. >> reporter: so, again, a city that just cannot shut down. they will do what they have to do to keep things operational. they say they have to take it a day at a time and figure out where the money will come from. now, really, when there is this much snowfall on the ground people really have their inner child coming out. there was a massive snowball fight earlier today. it's probably still going on actually. estimated thousands of people
outside enjoying the snow, pelting each other. >> those must be george washington university students. >> reporter: actually, i think just people in the neighborhood. >> really? >> reporter: only in washington, d.c. apparently there was a full disclaimer that people had to sign off on to participate in that. only in washington, d.c. >> i see. so this was a facebook-organized snowball party bash something or other. >> reporter: that's right. it went out on facebook and twitter. people divided themselves up by neighborhood. so it was north dupont circle versus south dupont circle. having lots of fun. >> all right, sara lee. we appreciate it. all right. president barack obama is on the defensive today in this snowy snowstorm weekend speaking at the winter meeting of the
democratic national convention. he urged party members to focus on his agenda which includes getting americans working again. let's bring in our senior white house correspondent suzanne malvo. lhilarious. you're in a winter wonderland. >> we're here at the white house. this is the north lawn. wanted to show you this is pebble beach. this is where obviously all of the bank of cameras, lights and everything under two feet of snow now. many colleagues are home and inside, but we have been outside pretty much all day here. this is the north lawn and the north portico. the first family has been snowed in all day. but they have done a good job -- not the p, but clearly the national parks service, in getting vehicles out. it's pretty much cleared in the
front driveway. we have watched the national park service, the president shall snowmobil-- presidential e making sure the motorcade was able to get out of here on time. the president went to a dnc winter meeting and that is where he was really trying to pump up members of his own party to not abandon the democratic agenda, not to abandon the administration's agenda. he focused on health care reform and he focused on creating jobs. it was very much like a campaign event. take a listen. >> for all the stories we have heard, after all the campaigns we've waged, all the promises we've made, this is our best chance to deliver change that the american people need. if we do that, if we speak to the hopes of the american people instead of their fears, if we inspire them instead of divide them, if we respond to their challenges with the same sense of urgency they feel in their own lives we're not just going
to win elections. elections take care of themselves. we'll once again be the party that turns around the economy and moves this country forward and secures the american dream for another generation. >> reporter: so obviously the president is trying to encourage members of his own party to get out and be aggressive when it comes to the democratic agenda. he wants them to come back, perhaps as early as monday. we'll see how the weather cooperates, at least on the senate side to get the democrats back in full force to introduce a bipartisan jobs bill. that would be a huge success for the president but clearly he's going to need to do some more convincing when it comes to the republicans. >> and this weather almost proved too treacherous for even the white house motorcade. >> reporter: it was a scary moment. look at this video. this was the presidential motorcade returning from this event. there was a free branch that basically, under the weight of the snow snappeded, claptsed and fell on top of one of the
vehicles in the motorcade. it was not the president's vehicle. fortunately he was a couple of cars a hhead. it was one of the press vehicles and immediately the white house spokesman and others jumped out of the vehicle. they got that branch out of the way and were able to continue to move on. nobody was hurt. the president was fine but clearly it was one of those moments where, you know, even in the presidential motorcade this is severe weather. everybody's trying to be careful. >> that's a postcard moment. i'm waiting for sasha and maliya to emerge. >> reporter: the snowman, the whole thing. i got an e-mail from my neighbors who said 25 inches of snow in my driveway. after this day is done i have to start shoveling out. >> you have a little shoveling to do. all right. suzanne malveaux, thank you very much at the white house. >> thanks.
>> catch the first lady tuesday at 9:00 with larry king. "larry king live" tuesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern, only on cnn. all right, to haiti now. a group of american missionaries jailed there on charges of trying to kidnap haitian children. we look at the group's controversial leader and her troubled history. thanks for coming.
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ten americans jailed in haiti on kidnapping charges are awaiting a court hearing on monday or tuesday of next week. they are accused of kidnapping 33 haitian children and trying to take them out of the country. they were arrested trying to cross the border into the dominican republic. u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton says this is a matter for the haitian courts to decide. the group's haitian lawyer says nine of the americans were caught up in actions they did not understand. not so for group leader laura silsby. the attorney says she knew the missionaries could not take the children out of haiti without proper paperwork. cnn's dan simon has more on the woman who organized the ill-fated mission. >> reporter: she's been described at a go-getter, a single mother who started her own business and helped disadvantaged children around the world. >> she has a way of getting what she asks for. >> reporter: but brian jack, a manager at laura silsby's idaho company says she has another reputation with several
employees. >> mainly comes down to promising a bill of goods that were never delivered. >> reporter: silsby is facing deep financial problems. the bank foreclosured on her home and her business, an online retailer once thriving is the target of numerous lawsuits claiming she's delinquent with payments. brian jack filed suit this week claiming he was told repeatedly he would be paid for back wages but wasn't. sils silsby's world was closing in as she left for haiti which may explain why the mission was disorganized. many wondered why she and the group failed to clear basic hurdles like paperwork to clear the children and registration as an adoption agency. >> i think she went down to help people that were in trouble, but it's a lack of foresight and planning once again. she did it in her business life and it seems to follow her in her personal life.
>> reporter: this is what silsby told cnn. >> we know the truth ultimately is we came to help the children. we know god will reveal truth. we're trusting in here. we came knowing this was his mission, not ours. >> reporter: as the questions began to mount her church pastor came to her defense. i asked if he had concerns about silsby never running an orphanage. is that a problem? >> we're talking about a mom. she's raised children. we're also talking about a businesswoman. so the idea of knowing how to run a business, all of that was already in place. >> it is such an honor to be here. >> reporter: in 2006 silsby won an award from a national women's business group. the committee made note of her charitable work saying she'd given hope to families around the world. she's also a respected member of her church and that's why several members jumped at the chance to join her in establishing an orphanage.
>> they were asked if they would like to help. when they were asked they both said, yes! >> reporter: sean's wife and daughter volunteered to go with silsby, just a few days before leaving. >> i know their character. i know they did not believe they were doing anything that was illegal. i absolutely know that. i mean, i'd stake my life on that. >> reporter: now the question is whether their leader led them down an illegal path. dan simon, cnn, meridian, idaho. >> a double whammy in southern california. last summer's wildfires left the hills bare. now rains are triggering mud slides.
a look at our top stories now. u.s. military officials are searching for an american civilian who disappeared in baghdad last month. he worked forrer the u.s. army. it's not clear whether he's the man who appears in a new video on an iraqi website. a 14-year-old madison, alabama boy was charged with murder. police say he shot a classmate at a middle school and calmly walked off as panic erupted. a town meeting is set for tomorrow. a positive sign for prius owners worried about problems with brakes. toyota is promising to unveil a
fix soon. the automaker blames the trouble on a software glitch and says it's already taken care of cars on the production lines and dealers could get word of a solution to the braking issue for all the sold vehicles by next week. an intense winter storm is bringing rain and mud slides. a raging wall of mud and water damaged at least ten homes in the los angeles suburbs of la canada flintridge today. pppppppp
in the very area that was hit hard last summer by storms in the form of fire. so all the fire just kind of stripped the hillsides bare and now you've got a lot of rain taking place in southern california. it's causing the kind of mud slides you see there with cars simply deluged by mud. on the phone now, a spokesperson for the police department. i understand you're about to go into a briefing. nicole, what can you tell me about how widespread the damage is? >> well, the los angeles county sheriff's department is approximately 500 homes we are going to evacuate in the la canada area. it's reported that the next weather storm system is coming around 1:00 to 2:00 with intense rainfall. so we want to get these residents out of harm's way. we are doing it by doing
door-to-door notifications as well as utilizing the reverse 9-1-1 system. >> we are looking at images now. these are no ordinary mud slides. this is in a very big way. you mentioned a hundred homes or 500? >> about 500 homes. some of the footage you may be seeing is in the ocean view area which were 16 homes, but we have incorporated 500 homes two weeks ago that we did evacuate. these are homes that are in harm's way of mud and debris. >> how are you assisting in the evacuation since from these images a lot of roads are impassable and, you know, cars are being tossed around by this mud which is running like a strong river? >> it is very hard at this point. i have seen a lot of tow trucks because k-rails and vehicles have been pushed so far. i mean blocks away from where
they were situated on the street. tow trucks are coming to get cars out of the way. we have had a lot of bulldozers in the area to get the mud and debris off the streets but it's hard for access into these roads that have been affected. >> nicole nishida, we'll touch base with you after the briefing momentarily. all right. from the mud slides to blizzards. getting around outside today is presenting a whole lot of challenges out there, especially for people living in the nation's capital. take a look at these live pictures.
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all right. another nicholas sparks romance comes to the big screen in "dear john" and john travolta is sporting a completely new look in the action flick "from paris with love." ben mankowitz, host of turner classic movies, is in los angeles. you are just all over the place. vegas, d.c., atlanta and now los angeles. good to see you. >> you, too, fred. >> let's talk about "dear john," channing tatum, a new heart throb -- well, new to me -- >> he's also not little. >> okay, true. he's not little. he's a handsome young man. let's watch. >> dear john, two weeks together. that's all it took. two weeks for me to fall in love with you. now we have one year apart.
but what's one year apart after two weeks like that together? >> so, what are your thoughts on this one? >> oh, i'm sorry. was that clip over? i drifted off. >> oh, man. >> you know -- >> it was a moment. >> it was a moment. and actually the guy you're seeing there, richard jenkins plays tatum's father and he's such a good actor that he elevates the movie. it's actually not that bad. i was making una little bit. it falls in the middle of the nicholas sparks adaptations. it's not as good as "the notebook" but better than many. it's okay. >> looks like a tearjerker. did you cry? >> it's such a deliberate tearjerker that it takes away the authenticity and it requires intense emotion from the actors and i don't think either of them quite deliver. she's better but he's so stoic,
it never moves beyond as a soldier who, following 9/11, has to go overseas and keeps delaying his time with her. meanwhile she falls in love with somebody else. there is something about him. you see he has great charisma and the screen presence. in a guy to understand iing fighting he's good. not quite good enough to carry this. it's not bad. it's what you expect it to be. the ending is a bit of a surprise. it's a very average film. i give it a c. i feared it would be unwatchable and it's not. the director les halstrom who did "chocolate" and "cider house rules" helps. he makes it less stereotype call than you would expect. >> okay, good. "from paris with love." john travolta. people love to see him no matter what. will they be happy with the movie? >> well -- you know, i don't
know. i think that not if they care about movies. after i saw this movie, i immediately went home and i read reviews from other critics, fred. my big fear was that i was missing something. i thought, is this a satire? >> hold it right there. let's see if we feel the same way. >> there's a suicide bomber inside the embassy. >> we've got you working with our top operative, charlie wax. >> until death do us part. >> okay. you can continue. >> all right. i thought, is this a satire? is this a parody of action movies? because i really -- you know, when you're a film critic you try not to engage in over the top superlatives. this is one of the worst movies i have seen in some time. >> oh, no. >> it's terrible. it's a series of violent moments that have no sort of connection
to the previous gratuitously violent moment. he's so over the top i got uncomfortable. he's sporting a new look. the bad guys run into the open where there is no cover so they can be shot by john travolta. it happens maybe 70 times. >> but they can do a good slow-mo. >> but it doesn't feel -- there is no flow to the violence either. it doesn't make sense. jonathan rhys-myers sounds like an american trying to do an irish accent. i thought he was joking. i don't understand. it was done by the director of "taken" which was so good. this is an f, a disaster. >> oh, yikes. that's harsh. we'll truncate this and talk about dvd's. usually we save that for the second hit we have with you, but we'll squeeze it in now.
"zombieland" and "amelia." >> "zombieland" i really enjoyed, no question about it. it's a parody. it is a satire. it's tough. also when you're a critic you don't want to rule out a genre and have blanket assumptions about certainer kinds of movies. i'm not a fan of zombie movies so i may not be the perfect candidate to totally get a satire of zombie movies but this is done so well. woody harl son is good. the script is really sharp ft. it moves along. this is a successful movie. i gave it a b-plus. i liked it a lot. >> to surprise. you know it's about zombies with that title. how about "amelia"? >> amelia earhart, the biopics have a certain burden. this one i would call largely a
failure. this is surprisingly dull. >> you were not willing to take flight with it. >> i was not willing to take flight with it. it didn't do well. it wasn't well received. it's easy to understand why. it's not terrible, but if we are going to do it quickly, by and large, skip it. >> all right. we'll talk about oscars -- sort of, kind of, in a way even though they haven't happened yet we have heard about the nominees. oscars will be handed out next month, however next time we see you, ben, you will talk about who might be going home with the golden statue. most people try to get rid of algae, and we're trying to grow it. the algae are very beautiful. they come in blue or red, golden, green. algae could be converted into biofuels... that we could someday run our cars on. in using algae to form biofuels, we're not competing with the food supply. and they absorb co2, so they help solve the greenhouse problem, as well. we're making a big commitment to finding out... just how much algae can help to meet...
okay. so oscar is trying something new. the field of contenders has expanded. ten films are nominated in best picture. that's double what we have seen in the past. ben mankiewicz is here to share his feelings on the changes. do you like that they have widened the berth here? >> i do, fred. i liked when they announced they would do it and i like it now. i don't think there is anything wrong -- certainly there is basically up to ten worthy movies a year. i would like to see them go up to ten.
like next year it might be seven, eight or ten. i don't think it diminishes it and you see movies like "the blind side" and "up" and "district 9" that wouldn't have been nominated. it's great that they get nominations. >> do you have favorites for best picture? >> i think "the hurt locker" will win. i don't think the academy will be like the golden globes and give it to "avatar." 20% of those who vote are actors and despite the marketing campaign to remind people of the performances the actors gave in "avatar" i don't think it will work. actors are unlikely to vote for it. there is a complicated scoring system in the way they count the votes again and again. it won't help movies like "avatar". some will put it number one, but a lot will have it at the bottom of the list. i think "the hurt locker" will win. i would vote for kwoez --
"inglourious basterds." >> james cam on is up against kathryn bigelow of "the hurt locker." they have an interesting past. but then they somehow -- he really is kind of behind her on this one, he says. >> yeah. well, i mean, i'm sure he'd like to win he did win at the golden globes but she won the directors' guild award. i think people will feel comfortable giving an award to avatar. i think he'll win this. frequently the awards don't get split. the best picture goes with the best director. if i were a betting man -- and i am -- i would go with "the hurt locker" for best picture. i think james cameron because that movie is on such a grand scale. it's so impressive in many ways that i suspect jim cameron will win best director. >> tell us about your locks.
that's movie critic lingo of who you think will take best supporting actress, actor, et cetera. >> it's also gambling lingo and there is no such thing as a lock, but in this case, i do think there are three locks. i think jeff bridges is going to win for best actor for "crazy heart." i don't think there is a doubt about it. he's loved by other actors. they think he already should have won. he'll win this. monique for "precious" and maybe the best performance of the year. the two best of the year are christoph alt in "inglourious basterds" and monique in "precious." they will win easily. we don't see the numbers but i think it will be a landslide. >> best actress? >> it's close and competitive. sandra bullock is the number one box office star in the country right now. i think her competition, she's
won every significant award along the way indicating that she'll probably win at the academy. but i have a tough time seeing it for "the blind side." i don't mean she's not worthy, but it would be surprising like when julia roberts won for "erin brockovitch." she'll get competition from meryl streep from "julie & juli julia". there is suspense there. it's about time the academy recognized meryl streep. she's been struggling and no one knows who she is. she's been doing small independent features and finally a chance to break through. nice for her to finally get a nomination -- her 16th. >> do you think it's been a good year in movies? >> i do. it finished strong. they always seem to finish strong. last year was better. there were movies i felt more passionately about such as "the wrestler" which wasn't nominated. it's been a good year.
"avatar" is the highest grossing movie ever. it's interesting to see "the blind side" catch on, carried by word of mouth. great movies weren't nominated. >> they didn't consult you. what were they thinking? >> they're crazy. it was a good year, not great. a good year for actors. >> ben, thank you so much. i appreciate it. we look forward to watching the oscars. before that we'll see you next weekend, right? >> of course. always good to talk to you. >> thank you so much. have a great weekend. let's look at the top stories now. president obama speaking at the democratic national convention today calling for bipartisan support to help the american people. the president also vowed he's not going to walk away from the challenge of reforming health care. and a second day of workshops for hundreds a tending the tea party convention in nashville. the activist group is raising money in hopes of impacting some
20 mid-term races in november. one of the big complaints is government spending they say is out of control. former alaska governor sarah palin is their keynote speaker tonight. cnn lv coverage beginning at 9:00 eastern time. a tribute today to the late ronald reagan. they are celebrating what would have been his 99th birthday at his presidential library in simi valley, california. the keynote speaker is elizabeth dole. today's ceremony includes a color guard, 21-gun issalute ana fly over by the navy fighter jets. let's take a look at some nasty weather out there. it has been tough for the east coast all winter long. some are now predicting whether this will be a record breaker particularly for washington, d.c. we heard bonnie schneider mention earlier that for
baltimore this might be a record-breaker. here are images of philadelphia. people shoveling there. many jurisdictions are talking about being hit so hard this winter that they can't afford to get the snow plows out there. i'm not sure if that's the situation here. but many cities are still getting the snow plows out. they are trying to figure out how to pay for it all. bonnie schneider in the severe weather center. it's nasty now and the snow plows are definitely going to be needed in a big way. >> they sure are, fredricka. they will continue to be needed tomorrow. the blizzard warnings continue tonight. we have been talking about washington, d.c. where many residents are shoveling out. d.c. is a popular tourist city, so a lot of people are visiting from out of town like our ireporter visiting from dallas, texas. brenda chitunhu, that's her family walking down new hampshire avenue near dupont circle. look at the cars covered with
snow. having fun. appreciate that. brenda says the plan was to leave washington, d.c. today. well, we know that didn't happen. no planes are going in or out of washington, d.c. great ireport, brenda. send in more. we'll show them tonight and tomorrow. here's flight explorer. not many planes out there. we have a feature where we can filter planes going in and out of certain airports. i checked baltimore, both airports in washington. no planes are going in and out of those airports now. the airports are open, so you can get some coffee and hang out, but you won't get in or out. the snow persists for the d.c. area. it's not shutting off yet. we're monitoring that and watching for blustery winds battering the coastline hard. that's blowing snow drifts out and about, fredricka. it will be a problem tonight. one piece of good news is that some of the blizzard warnings in new jersey will end at 7:00. d.c. into balterror more has
until 10:00 for the warning to expire. eventually the storm will push off to sea. eventually. tomorrow. >> be patient. appreciate it. fortune magazine has its list of the 100 best companies to work for. 22 of those businesses have at least 500 job openings each including intel with more than 1,200 and accenture, with 45,000. we're taking a look at some of the other companies of fortune's top 100 list. see if you can guess the name of the next business. >> reporter: it's a business that's gone to the dogs. what company lets you work side by side with your four-legged friend? find out after the break.
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you hear about the earthquake in haiti? i went home, turned on the tv, cnn and there it was. people running around, dust everywhere and buildings collapsed. >> reporter: as one of the few haitian players in the nfl, last month's earthquake hit home for colts receiver pierre garcon. though born and raised in the united states after his parents emigrated most of his relatives still live in haiti. >> this is my cousin. they live there now. they're doing fine. they're doing great. they had no harm to themselves. >> reporter: after learning his relatives were safe, garcon's helping hands foundation teamed up with a haitian missionary to raise money. he began to dedicate his play to the people of haiti. after a record performance in the colts' afc championship win over the jets garcon paraded around the field with the haitian flag bringing publicity to his cause. >> a lot more football fans are are recognizing that i'm haitian
now and that my country needs help. they have told me they donated. they appreciate what i'm doing to bring the awareness. that helps haiti. >> pierre putting up the flag, representing haiti, that touched a lot of people in haiti. a lot of people on the team saw it and they wanted to be a part of it. >> it's a great flag. it says a lot. together we're strong. that's what it says at the bottom. that's what we are trying to do -- come together, get out of a bad situation and be strong. >> reporter: with a win on sunday with game that will be televised around the world, garcon hopes to keep the momentum of relief efforts going. >> it's not over. still people probably under the rubble still right now. they're still searching and there is a rebuilding process that hasn't even started yet. i'm just trying to represent them in the best manner, have the flag with me. you know, saying we're still
trying to help you guys out. joe carter joins us now live from miami. garcon was not a household name before this. so what is his path all about? >> reporter: he's got an interesting story. he went to mount union college which is a division-3 college in northern ohio. he's only played two seasons in the nfl and really emerged as a star on the team this year because of injury. it's a great story. this is a guy in his early 20s who's balancing so much on his plate. fredricka? >> wow. thank you so much, joe. it's not just miami getting a super bowl bump, by the way. it's the saints' first appearance at the big dance and mardi gras is days away. new orleans is filling up with people who want to be a part of the excitement. joining me is the general manager of the windsor court hotel in new orleans. good to see you. >> thank you, fredricka. they told me you're a good football player.
ready? >> bring it on. no problem. >> thank you. >> what's interesting is most cities when their team is going to the super bowl, everyone wants to get to the super bowl city and watch their team. this is very different. folks are converging on new orleans because they say, you know, this is the place where the party is going to happen. what has it meant for your bookings at your hotel? how much of a boon for business has it been? >> well, you know, i want to start on behalf of all the hotels in town and the 70,000 hospitality employees in thanking the saints and all of their players for an automakers seas -- awesome season. it's been an amazing run. go saints tomorrow. the impact for the city has been tremendous. all through the playoffs, remember, we have had two home playoff games so far. so in january we had a tremendous boost in the two middle weekends of january which are not necessarily a busy time for us.
now super bowl weekend, number one it's expensive to go to miami to get tickets for the game, hotel. and this city is known for being a great party place. this is mardi gras weekend. we have a mayoral election today. it's a tremendous boost all weekend for the city and restaurants, bars, the hotels and for everybody. >> so you and a lot of the other businesses, restaurants and hotels already had, you know, a fairly good booking leading up to mardi gras, as you mentioned. once it was a done deal that the saints would be heading to miami, how did that immediately impact your reservations? are you 100% booked now? >> well, we are. our hotel is. historically the first weekend of mardi gras friday and saturday night are busy, absolutely. but this is adding sunday night into the mix and a full sell-out all nights. it's a great feeling in the city. all the associates of the hotel and all the hotels and the
hospitality industry and all the people of the city have come together so strong for it. it's really fun. >> it's exciting. everyone feels that lump in their throat. they are rooting for new orleans. it's a wonderful story. this is a nice little icing on the cake of what's been a very tough last few years. the windsor court hotel, one of my favorites in new orleans. >> thank you. >> have a great weekend and enjoy the celebrations all weekend long. >> thank you very much. it's a great time. thank you. >> i'm fredricka whitfield. thanks for joining us. we're learning more about today's southern california mud slides by the minute. don lemon will be up next with more on that and the day's news after this. (pouring rain)
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